tv [untitled] April 20, 2013 5:14pm-5:44pm PDT
the contract. that's one way we've been able to do it, through a tendering process, to make sure they have the appropriate qualifications. >> okay, thank you. let me come on over here. that answered that question, and we're going to come over here to alex who is on the san francisco graffiti advisory board. if i can get you to stand up, alex. >> thank you. thank you for answering. that was my question. but i have a follow-up question that actually goes to dpw. you hold the microphone? >> i hold the microphone that way i can pull it away at any minute. [laughter] >> currently the way i understand it is whenever there is a graffiti on a -- the great majority -- and by the way, we have plagued on this issue here in san francisco. we're talking about hundreds and hundreds of buildings with this issue.
basically with brick surfaces where the property owner will get a citation for the violation to remove the graffiti. they send an untrained personnel to try to do it. they are not successful and they leave a graffiti shadow behind. as far as i'm concerned on an esthetic point, it is exactly the same of the graffiti that was there before. the only difference is that you took a little bit of the pigment, but even worse. many times the personnel that tried to abate it is damaging the building, we just explained, by putting the pigment further in in that substrate. and -- or even worse, actually really dee facing the surface. when it's historical heritage buildings, there's no return unless you do a major restoration. and this is what i don't understand.
the citation is fulfilled just because that pigment on the surface was taken, but the design is still there. a good example is van ness and ellis not too far from here. and there is a corner building, beautiful one-story brick building. and you see shadow over shadow over shadow. i think it's -- to me, it's almost like the vandals are laughing at us. >> larry, did you want to respond to that? >> yeah. so, we photograph all the tags and the inspectors go out and look at them. if the actual tack has been removed, then the graffiti is considered removed. the fact that the ghosting stays there, it becomes a very difficult thing at what level you're going to hold the property owner responsible. * tag for removing the ghosting. a lot of times that's not very
easy to do and, so, are you still going to hold them accountable when they've made the effort, removed the initial tag? and they can't remove the ghost, i don't think so. as a city, i don't think that would be where i would want to be. if they showed they made the effort to remove it, unless it's extremely bad, i think they're doing their due diligence to try and remove the graffiti. >> all right, thank you. do you want to -- is that one red or is that -- because there was red and it was asked by the same person. >> it was red and then asked by the same person. >> you know what, i can see a bunch of hands up here. iv see this guy back here with his hand up a couple -- a half hour now. if i'm going to be honest about it. so, we're going to have him ask your question. >> yeah, this is to dpw, but how do you cite your owners? do you wait till somebody calls in a complaint or as your crews
are out there cleaning up graffiti and they see graffiti on a private property, do you note that and then send them a citation, or do you just wait for the residents to complain about it? >> both. all of our staff, field staff are trained to call into our radio room whenever they see graffiti on private property. we have corridor workers that work the major commercial corridors throughout the city. they also call it in. and we also take calls from 311. >> okay, thank you, larry. and i see a bunch -- well, two hands back here. so, we're going to go ahead and have them step in and ask their questions. >> for dpw, regarding the ghosting, typically when that happens, do you have individuals that are actually trained in the removal and how to remove it properly? because based on the material that's actually being placed on the wall and the wall that -- the type of wall that is being
placed on, do people just go out and have one particular product that they put on and expect it to come off, or is there some training that's going on to find out, okay, this is the application we need to use for this surface and this is the, you know, a different application we need to use for another surface? and how can you prevent that ghosting? because if it's still there, it's there. just because you remove the pigment doesn't mean that it's gone. and like you stated yourself, when do you say, enough is enough? because if you have an historic building and you want the graffiti removed but you have the ghost there, is it really removed? >> well, historic buildings, dpw would not be removing the graffiti. and remember also on private property, the property owner is responsible for it. dpw as a rule does not do the abatement. so, whether they are or aren't using the correct materials to remove it off of brick, it's based on who they hire or who they get to do the work.
we are aware for the time when we did do t we have several different products based on the type of surface. and staff was trained at that time, but that's when we were doing abatement on private property. >> i can just help a little bit. again, from the historic building perspective, of course, private property can be historic, too. but there's a difference between, of course, when it's a public owned building or private owned building. perhaps some of it is an awareness or an education about resource he he that are available. there's a whole gamut of people available to remove graffiti, people who have never done it before, maybe they're painters but they just have access to materials and they are used to taking paint off. i guess farther down the spectrum of people that have never done it before and just want to be good citizens to remove graffiti. then you go up through -- you know, people who just
specialize in graffiti removal. there's people who, you know, more like me who get technically involved and we test everything. you've got vendors out there that are selling you products, including antigraffiti coatings. so, i think there's a level of what the significance of the historic building, if we're talking about the white house or the national monument, you know, we'll always get -- usually find people who are super well qualified. and then if it's -- you know, if it were my house and it was built in the 1920s, i might get more ghosting. it's just a matter of -- not me. i would do a good job. [laughter] >> but i think there's a whole spectrum there. and sometimes it's just a matter of understanding what the resources are and awareness of the resources so you can find the people that can help maybe reduce the ghosting in the first place because, honestly, once you get ghosting, forget it. i mean, and i should say, too,
you know, i have almost 30 years' training in materials and methods and everything and i work specifically on, you know, i've worked in museums. i still get ghosting every once in a while. it's not a perfect world. it is really tough not to -- the damage is done when the graffiti goes on. so, sometimes we have to realize that, too. and we're just -- we're fighting an uphill battle in trying to find the right materials and methods in order to, you know, remove or abate. just one quick comment on antigraffiti coatings for those in the talk. this is a repeat. but we have to be very careful in selecting those materials and methods as well because sometimes just the coating alone can do more damage to historic fabric than not having it. so, we have to be looking at other strategies besides what i call it, what glue do i use. we have to be looking at strategies more on the prevention end. are we using motion cameras, lighting, sprinkler systems,
relandscaping, fencing. the more we do, the more successful we're going to be. * on the preventive end >> we'll have a quick question, hear from chuck and i know there is a gentleman over there that has had his hand up. go ahead, chuck. >> we have an award winning mural program in the city of hayward, but we have one real strong block and that's dealing with at&t and their control boxes. they will not allow us to touch them. never mind the fact that volunteers have already put 20 coats on that box, okay. they do not want to put a single mural on any one of their boxes. has anybody had success with them? have you got any suggestionses? because we're tired of painting those boxes. they threatened to sue our city when they tried to get them involved in the mural program. >> i think the one suggestion i might have for you is you start documenting the number of times that you're actually painting out there box and you start
generating a bill along with a letter and send it to them. i think that's probably your best strategy so you can show the amount of cost that you're actually spending abating something that's theirs. and from that point then you have to have your policy makers or engage them. i mean, because that's pretty much -- >> [inaudible]. it's not unique. trust me, it's not unique. >> [speaker not understood]. >> all right, you have another one for us, another anonymous question. >> so, this is in regards to enforcement. do you take juvenile gang bangers to paint over gang graffiti? any law enforcement? >> we do. >> do you? >> [speaker not understood]. >> take the mic, walk it over.
>> tagging is tagging. if you're set for work release or work service, community service, [speaker not understood]. now, our -- when we're doing a lot of volunteers, we had to go with it because we had a nonprofit to clean up. when they did our clean up, they were actually reformed gangsters themselves. they had opened a nonprofit and they were doing paint overs. they were pretty astute at assessing the juveniles and assessing the areas they were in. what we've done since then, we lost our nonprofit, now everybody who does graffiti, we generally send out, not the paint, we send out to strip the toilets and public parks, pick up dog poop at the dog park. pick up something that was disgusting and they don't get a chance to paint at all. we would see where they would paint over and they would forget the part with their gang and they would paint over.
they would use a roller and put stuff behind. we've done that. we've only walked away from it only because we haven't got what we consider the proper supervision to go out to be able to assess the environment and the young gangsters that go out on the paint crew, they respect the old veterans even if they've gotten reformed. they don't so much respect the city work [speaker not understood]. that's how it worked with us. >> okay, anybody else up there want to comment on that? i'm going to run over here because it's over here. had his hand up for a little while. if i could get you to stand up. >> this is a softball for dpw. i want to know where you get the funding that you give out as grant funding, let's say street smarts. is it general fund money, is there a special fee that's tied to something that goes into a fund? >> yeah, it's general fund money. the department makes a decision
on programs and we earmark money for various, like the police and the arts commission and we earmark money and send it to them. a lot of times you'll find the board of supervisors members have support for various programs also. we've gotten that after the budget was done in order to fund some of the programs. >> great. do you have another question? >> i have three more. >> you have three more up there, and anybody else going to be wanting to ask a question? okay, we'll get you lined up, then. >> let's see. this is to sharon. your capital city clean up program offers $1500 to private property owners to abate on heritage properties. what are the technical requirements to abate graffiti from heritage properties? >> i actually am not an expert in terms of the types of chemicals. so, i really captain answer that question. basically like i said before,
we have our contractor on staff who is fully qualified, who is responsible for getting a letter approval through heritage for his chemical. they have to do a test with them to ensure that the products are safe for use on all heritage buildings. and so that's how we've been able to handle our heritage buildings. >> i think most of my experience here in the states is it has more to do with the qualifications -- if it's designated listed historic property, then it tends to shift over to the qualifications have to be somebody that has a certain degree and conservation or that kind of thing. so, it's probably similar. it's some qualification type program. >> alrighty, thank you. i have a question over here. somebody get back here, if i could get you to stand up. your name is frank? >> yes. i've got two questions. one for marty and one for larry.
marty, how many officers do you have dedicated to your graffiti program? and also larry, how many painters or staff is in your graffiti abatement program? >> great questions. >> well, i'm the graffiti guy, graffiti abatement guy. [laughter] (applause) >> as far as the guys i use on my paint overs, i have a group of 3 to 4 guys and i pick them -- they're hand picked by me. i tend to pick guys who are patient, good with kids, guys who are school resource officers. that's a big plus. you know, you've got to like kids, maybe have experience in teaching, coaching, working with kids. like i said in my presentation, you don't want the guy with the rack shock and smoke mirror glasses who looks like he's working on a chain gang. you want someone who can maybe
not talk to them in their own vernacular, but who can see eye to eye with them, talk to them about kid things and most of all be patient. and who can document trouble and kind of see things on the horizon that might be issues coming up and who are familiar with the san francisco landscape. you know, i don't let just any cop come and do the overtime. very, very picky about who i get. and i get guys who are dependable and who are most of all good with kids. >> larry, part 2. >> about 18, roughly about five crews that go out total. but they remember their main focus is public, not private. so, in short that's the answer. >> [inaudible].
>> all public property. so, light poles, signal boxes. we do mailboxes, stickers, trees. garbage can. >> trash cans, yeah. >> [speaker not understood]. >> public. >> yeah, city property. the benches in the parks. we don't do parks, but parks are done, rec and park does the benches he. we have some pretty basic colors. * so, most of our furniture is probably one of four colors. it's all going to be green. >> okay. let's see, what am i going to do? we're going to do this 15, 20 more minutes because i know mel needs to leave in a little while. we were going to go to about
4:15 but we're cut short a little bit. we'll do a ten-minute break after that and we'll kickoff some awards for people that are deserving. so, i'm going to take another question from gideon, gideon cramer, former member of the san francisco graffiti advisory board. and let's hear what you have to ask. >> this is a follow-up question for larry. we were talking about concrete sidewalk graffiti and curbs. and your response was that that is private property or the owner -- the property owner is responsible. a number of my neighbors had asked me when they had graffiti said where do we go? technically you're responsible. so, what am i going to do? they ended up -- i said, do not paint over it. it's got to be power washed. you have to use -- that can be really expensive. they went and painted over it. and now it looks worse than the graffiti. i see it all over the city that
a tag is painted over with brown paint, with whatever is available. and then it becomes a real problem because it's really hard to remove it then. so, i think that -- my thought about it, i know dpw doesn't have the financial resources, but realistically i think sidewalks even though they're kind of that nebulous gray area where technically they're owned by the property owner, but they really are public property. and i think that's something that dpw should somehow find the funding to take care of that property because private property owners are not going to hire somebody with a power washer to come out there and do it. i just know it. i mean, i see very, very few examples of that. >> larry. >> i would agree. but as always, it's an issue of funding. we do have approved product listses on our website. so, if you run into somebody, there are some there they can use and actually work
relatively well. but the ultimately cities face this all the time. you have to make decisions about what resources you have and what you can and can't do with the resources that you have. and, so, that's going to continue to be a problem. and it's always about the decisions, what you can do and what you can't. and while it's understandable, as long as they're abating the graffiti, and i understand it doesn't look nice to have a sidewalk painted, but my reference would be tell them about the other products that are out there. and i'm not -- not all of the tags require a power washer to take it off. >> i'm going to speak as a property owner. >> go for it. >> i live in alameda. this was not graffiti, this was trees, replanting trees, they want to put a tree, who is responsible for that, sidewalks and everything. one thing they did do is they offered referrals for contractors, not just materials, but, you know,
people who could do the trees or who could do the sidewalk repairs or what have you. so, that might be another option for different municipalities that help theirs. but that helped get her done. >> [speaker not understood]. >> go ahead. >> [speaker not understood]. [speaker not understood]. they know where to actually get power washers and things like that from home depot. they offer that information to the residents and that way that is something that is also helpful. so, there is another avenue there. >> go ahead. you want to add -- >> i wanted to add to this subject. going back to ghosting, there is a same situation with sidewalks.
actually, i'm a contractor so i know. you need to have a lot of power on your power washer, a specific amount of pressure in order to be able to take some of the graffiti on the sidewalks. one point i haven't heard talked in this conference is an issue that has a lot to do with ghosting is that vandals are coming up with new concoctions of paints that they use to make it harder to take out. so, i say that graffiti abatement is a combination of science and alchemy. because every time you get to a place, a small percentage you find pigments that's like from another world almost. but just to finalize, and i understand what larry was answering. it makes sense that you cannot hold property owners liable to graffiti ghosting. but is this a point of policy
that maybe could look forward? other municipalities, that whenever there is ghosting, you actually encouraging more vandalism because that is an etch that is going to stay -- my grandchildren might still see it. so, what i'm saying is i think dpw does a great job on giving referrals on contractors, by the way, and a wealth of information about products. but the bottom line is that property owner is only going to spend so much money over and over and over and get to a point that it's just too much money. so, ghosting i think to me is dear to my heart because of this. if it stays there it's going to attract more vandalism. >> great point, thank you. jan, do you want to read another question? >> yes, this is in regards to abatement and it's something that as a city we have issues with, too, so i would like an
answer. is there a product that would clean [speaker not understood] without damaging reflective coating? i've used different brands with no luck and i end up replacing the sign. so, in your experience [speaker not understood]? oh, okay. >> [speaker not understood]. i've got a sign outside my house at home. somebody tagged my sign. so, i went out there and when i got done, there was no red paint left, just a big shiny reflective piece. so, i called up the city of highland and i said, my sign looks like crap. they said that's fine. you must have one of the old signs. and 3m is putting out a material, it's being used by our city and every one of our "street signs" come down. when a street sign comes down, san beerctionv dino does it, a lot of cities in california are doing it. san bernardino. * when you wipe it off it allows
you to wipe the paint off. you don't get the run and such. so we're seeing more and more of it being used in california. you still have to clean it. it doesn't keep it from sticking, but it preserves the signs, don't have to keep changing the signs. >> all right. so, i want to actually ask a question of the attendees. was there anything about this conference that you can -- because basically we all live graffiti. graffiti is our live. we deal with it on a daily basis. anybody here come to this conference and whether it's from the panel or somebody that they spoke to here, one of the vendors that were here, that was something totally new, something you've never heard of before, something brand spanking new for you and something you want to take home with you to share with other people? chuck? >> we're launching our education program in the schools. the idea of having the kids do some artwork and then turn around and tag it in their class.
so, they feel what it's like to be violated. that is so powerful, i can't wait to get home and start doing it. on the other side as a carrot, i have stickers. when you give blood like i do every eight weeks, they give me a little sticker. that says, be nice to me, i gave blood today. [speaker not understood]. we need to do that for our clean-up people. so, when i take one of our felons, our misdemeanor kids and we go out and abate graffiti, at the end of the day i put a sticker on and says, be nice to me, i cleaned hayward today. your parents have to be nice to you and you tell them i said so. (applause) >> awesome, thank you. thank you. do you have another question up there? >> i do. >> okay, great. >> it's a rather hefty one. there is much more commercial
tagging such as billboards, rap ads on buses, streetcars, structures built into sidewalks such as kiosks, news gras being, stand alone in ground billboards, and tagging by individuals. also people have become used to constant advertising. if we are wanting to make our city more beautiful, how do we handle commercial tagging? doesn't the amount of advertising in public space affect us? does anyone want to take that? anyone want to tackle that one? >> i'll throw a little bit on that one. again, you know, the constitution has a real issue in america where we have freedom of speech. and just because something -- artwork that appears to be graffiti does not make it illegal. and the corporations know that graffiti is one of the edge things that draws youth and draws vibrance and it's a sign of being, you know, alive and active. you see it in all kinds of advertising and it's going to continue.
the only way around it, i know there have been some contacts with certain corporations where they had it drawn to their attention, made a mistake and they would change. and that's the only way you can do it is dealing with the corporation itself. and that is going to be very difficult because as you saying i don't like this versus, hey, we're selling $10 million worth of product this year and a lot of it is off of our graffiti campaign. when i show some of my stuff in -- we talk about commercial graffiti, there's a bunch of stuff in conon el, a toilet paper commercial. they had graffiti built onto each one of their toilet paper ads. they weren't getting bang for their buck and they got rid of t. there was a commercial from esther c. there was a supplement, a little orange and you ran
around and saw graffiti and heard the police chasing him and stuff. i quoted that to the joe camel thing. kids look at that and think graffiti is cool. they received a lot of pressure and they pulled those ads. but you have the opposite side where you have like mountain dew where they go out and find 10 or 12 different taggers they think are great, design custom mountain cans, extreme games is the thing they're pushing and they get a lot of input from that. they have a website and guys go out collecting cans reading about the poor vandals grew up on the mean streets, now they're artists because they have their own personal cans. we can't regulate what isn't personal constitution. if you can provide an economic impact, we as adults are looking at this and we don't want to deal with it, if you